Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name



This study examined African American social workers' opinions about genetic research, genetic services, and education in genetics and selected factors associated with their opinions. Those factors were professional/work experience with clients with genetic issues; mass media exposure to genetic information: t.v., movies, newspapers, magazines; graduate social work course/unit in a course in genetics; personal/family experience with genetic issues; and gender.

There are no available studies on the readiness of African American social workers to practice in human genetic service delivery. This study was based on the premise that African American social workers' opinions about human genetics as a discipline would be an indicator of their readiness to practice in genetics.

Frequency analysis, crosstabulation and multiple regression were the statistics employed to analyze the data. The findings indicated that African American social workers were supportive of genetic services and education in genetics, but had mixed opinions about genetic research. Based upon these findings, African American social workers appear to be a group that is ready to fill a unique need for social work practitioners in genetics.

Mass media exposure to genetics and gender were the variables that were most associated with the African American social workers' opinions. Several of the independent variables had a slight relationship to the criterion variables. These relationships indicated an interplay of complex factors that were associated with African

American social workers' support for genetic research, genetic services and education in genetics. Those factors indicated that experience with or exposure to genetics may have influenced African American social workers to support genetics in general. It was recommended that graduate schools of social work and social work professional associations develop educational programming that focuses on exposing African American graduate social work students and social work practitioners to genetics. This study employed convenience sampling to maximize the participation of African American social workers and conclusions apply only to the study sample.

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